i’ve often wondered if people killed by “less-than-lethal” weapons are “less dead” than those killed by bullets…ed.
Trace amounts of radiation found on West Coast
A San Francisco-based monitor has identified trace amounts of radioactive iodine, cesium and tellurium isotopes in the air, consistent with the Japanese nuclear incident. But they are at levels far too small to pose a risk to human health, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“The radiation levels are hundreds of thousands to millions of times below levels of concern,” according to an EPA statement released Tuesday.
In a typical day, Americans receive doses of radiation from natural sources like rocks, bricks and the sun that are about 100,000 times higher than what is arriving in California from Japan, according to its analysis. The levels from Japan are 100,000 times lower than the radiation received from taking a round-trip international flight, the agency said.
The San Francisco monitor is one of four West Coast RadNet air-monitor filters; the others are in Anaheim, Riverside and Seattle. The samples were captured Friday and sent to EPA scientists for detailed lab analysis, which was completed Monday night.
A fifth monitor, based in Hawaii, also detected minuscule levels of a radioactive isotope. The identification and analysis is not yet complete.
Specifically, the San Francisco monitor found these levels of radiation, measured in Picocuries per meter, cubed: Cesium-137: 0.0013; Tellurium-132: 0.0075; Iodine-132: 0.0066; and Iodine-131: 0.068.
(what these reassurances fail to mention is that the rocks and bricks cool off when the sun sets, and the flight will eventually end…the radioactive fallout from japan will eventually end, too…someday…also, radioactive materials tend to accumulate in the body…ed.)
Work resumes to stabilise Japan nuclear plant
Work to stabilise Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear plant has resumed after work was suspended due to a plume of black smoke seen coming from a reactor.
Japan’s nuclear safety authority said two employees were taken to hospital after being exposed to radiation.
Uncovered Nuclear Fuel Rods In Japan Could Ignite A Chernobyl-Like Disaster
The optimism of Japanese officials surveying efforts to halt a nuclear crisis in Japan on Thursday contrasted with dire warnings from U.S. experts about the possibility of dangerous levels of radiation spreading across a large area.
The Fukushima nuclear power plant’s reactors have sat idle for the past five days, but not without tremendous action around them. Japanese officials said they are close to returning a power supply to the reactors, which would allow them to restart the regular cooling process. When an earthquake and tsunami leveled much of the nearby seaboard last week, other measures had to be taken to keep the fuel roads cooled.
But as that problem approached a resolution, a new problem confronted the plant. Old nuclear fuel roads resting in pools of sixty feet of water may be sitting in empty baths. Exposure to air would cause the fuel rods to heat up, burn and send a steady, sustained amount of radiation into the atmosphere.
“We believe that around the reactor site there are high levels of radiation,” Gregory Jaczko, head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing. “It would be very difficult for emergency workers to get near the reactors. The doses they could experience would potentially be lethal doses in a very short period of time.”
Reported by the New York Times:
On Thursday morning a spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power, the Daiichi plant operator, and a spokesman for Japan’s nuclear regulatory agency, denied Mr. Jaczko’s account, saying the situation at reactor No. 4 had not changed and that water remained in the spent fuel storage pool. But both officials said the situation was changing and that the reactor had not been inspected in recent hours.
“We can’t get inside to check, but we’ve been carefully watching the building’s environs, and there has not been any particular problem,” said Hajime Motojuku, the spokesman for Tokyo Electric.
Japan’s regulators also said early Thursday that radiation levels had decreased steadily overnight. Meanwhile, they continued to evacuate residents within 12 miles of the reactors and provide them with potassium iodide pills to counteract any negative effects of radiation. U.S. military personnel around Japan were among those taking pills after they were recorded with higher than normal radiation levels.
After high radiation levels prevented plant workers from air-dropping water into reactor three on Wednesday, officials hoped the military could make an attempt later Thursday. Reactor four, where a fire broke out earlier in the week, also remained a top priority. The drying pools with spent fuel roads from the two reactors appeared to be the greatest concern, however, because they are not encased as deeply as the active fuel roads in the reactors. Spent fuel at reactors five and six have raised concerns, but the danger doesn’t appear as imminent because the reactors are more intact.
Reactors one and two are both seriously damaged, and it’s unclear what kind of undertaking will be needed to rehabilitate them or completely seal them off.
The 9.0-earthquake that hit last week has caused at least $200 billion in damge, scared off stock investors across the world and left more than 1,400 people dead and tens of thousands more missing. More than two millions lacked either running water or electricity. From India to France, dozens of countries have told their citizens to flee Japan.
Even China, a ferocious builder of infrastructure, said it would suspend its approvals of nuclear power plants until they can be deemed absolutely safe.
Experts from the U.S. Energy Department and the International Atomic Energy Agency were expected to arrive in Japan later Thursday to provide help in assessing the situation at the power plant. Working with the power plant operators, the agencies must decide whether to continue stopgap cooling measures, let the fuel burn and contain the radiation or work to restore broader cooling measures.
Radiation Extends Past Evacuation Zone
TOKYO—Levels of radioactivity from Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex may be above government limits for infants in some areas outside the plant’s 20-kilometer evacuation zone, according to the latest estimate to fuel an international debate over how close civilians should be allowed to the plant.
The new estimate, by a state-funded monitoring body, came as fears over Tokyo’s tap water eased. Tests Thursday also showed radioactive material in a major plant supplying water to the capital has fallen to below the level the government says could pose long-term health risks to infants. Elevated levels in samples from the plant Tuesday and Wednesday sparked official warnings and bottled-water sales.
Japan’s Nuclear Safety Technology Center, a government monitoring group, released the estimate late Wednesday of the cumulative exposure to radiation in zones surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi complex. The estimate covered the 12 days since Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami spurred fires, explosions and spikes in radioactivity levels at the complex.
The estimate—which the center produced by modeling radiation readings collected at various points around the plant—suggested that most areas with radiation that exceeded government thresholds fell within the 20-kilometer evacuation zone.
But the model showed that areas where cumulative exposure over 12 days reached 100 millisieverts—the government’s maximum for infants—extended beyond the evacuation zone. A map based on data from the center showed areas that received a cumulative 100 millisieverts extended as far as about 40 kilometers northeast and south from the plant.
Radiation Levels in Japan
The Japanese government monitors radiation levels around the country. Track these measurements over time.
Government officials said the center’s estimate doesn’t require a larger evacuation, under even the most conservative standards. They said a person would have to have been in the area, and outdoors for the entire time since the March 11 earthquake, to receive that full dose.
Still, the test results demonstrate the uncertainty surrounding the measuring of radioactive emissions from the power plant.
Elevated levels of radioactive elements have been found as far away as Tokyo in its tap water, prompting worries over the nation’s food and water supplies. The U.S. last week recommended citizens come no closer than 50 miles, about 80 kilometers, to the plant, based on its own radiation readings in the area, putting pressure on Japanese authorities to justify their decision to evacuate the area within 20 kilometer of the plant and order those within 30 kilometers to remain indoors.